We’ve all read and heard numerous stories about how the press room at state capitol buildings used to be a jam-packed and lively place, with a mere skeleton crew–and a batch of noisy crickets–in attendance these days. But an opinion piece in the NJ Star Ledger, about the demise of New Jersey Network, is particularly poignant.
It comes from the political consultant/CNBC contributor Julie Roginsky, who writes:
While this is largely a result of declining revenues for print media across the country, it also speaks to the “punditization” of our news. People like me, who argue a partisan viewpoint, get plenty of air time. Straight-up news reporting, like that provided by NJN’s journalists, is on life support.
This trend has increasingly allowed politicians and political operatives to get away with all sorts of things that would have been unacceptable even a decade ago. When television executives are more interested in getting a quick and punchy sound bite than analyzing a story or holding a politician accountable, the state’s residents suffer.
Public broadcaster WNET New York has committed to airing 20 hours of Jersey-related programming a week. But in a state that’s in dire need of watchdogs, Roginsky says it’s not enough.
Thoughtful analysis of our state’s government and political system will be compromised as yet one more major news organization leaves the scene. New Jersey governors will always receive coverage, but it is the lower levels of government, affecting so much in our lives from property taxes to education, that will receive less scrutiny as a result.